Wristwatches have always been part of the secret
agent's accouterments. Long before James Bond ever appeared on the big
screen, Ian Fleming in his novels had already issued James Bond with a
wristwatch. In "On Her Majesty's Secret Service", Bond uses his
as a knuckle-duster and breaks his watch. Contemplating on a replacement
watch, Bond thinks, "A Rolex? Probably. They were on the heavy side,
but they work. And at least you could see the time in the dark with those
big phosphorous numerals".
When James Bond progressed from novel to film his watch could now be seen. In Dr. No, Sean Connery is clearly seen wearing a Rolex Submariner. This watch is described in Dowling & Hess' book. Rolex Reference No. 6538 or 5508 is now known as the James Bond Submariner. Bond's arch enemies also wear interesting timepieces. Three worth mentioning are Donald "Red" Grant, Goldfinger and Scaramanga.
Grant, an assassin played by Robert Shaw in From Russia With Love, has an unnamed wristwatch that has a retractable thin wire garrote. This watch is seen for the second time in another Bond movie, On Her Majesty's Secret Service. George Lazenby picks up the watch from the top drawer of his desk with other mementos and contemplates leaving the Secret Service.
In the novel "From Russia With Love", Grant's watch is very well described. "There was also a bulky gold wristwatch on a well-used crocodile strap. It was a Girard-Perregaux model designed for people who like gadgets, and it had a sweep second-hand and two little windows in the face to tell the day of the month , and the month, and the phase of the moon".
Gert Frobe who plays Goldfinger obviously wears a gold watch but which I cannot identify. Christopher Lee who plays Scaramanga in The Man With The Golden Gun, is more than likely wearing a Rolex Cellini King Midas.
Listed below are the watches seen in the James Bond movies.
Dr. No (1962) - A Rolex Submariner.
From Russia With Love (1963) - A Rolex
Goldfinger (1964) - Rolex Submariner
which is beautifully illuminated by Sean Connery's lighter. Honor Blackman
wears a Rolex GMT when piloting Goldfinger's jet.
Thunderball (1965) - Rolex Submariner.
Breitling Top Time which doubles as a geiger counter. An extreme
close-up of this watch reveals that it has no pushers or crown, it is encased
with an outer shell. A Breitling Navitimer which is the watch of
You Only Live Twice (1967) - No watch seen.
O.H.M.S.S. (1969) - Rolex Submariner with steel bracelet. George Lazenby takes off his Submariner, places it on top of a photo-copier and then peruses a Playboy magazine. A Rolex chronograph with a silvered dial and a stainless steel Oyster bracelet is also worn by Lazenby. It is seen twice when Bond times the cable car.
Diamonds Are Forever (1971) - No watch seen.
Live And Let Die (1973) - Pulsar Time
Computer Quartz LED & Rolex Submariner, "That's a particularly
handsome watch you're wearing Mr. Bond!".
The Man With The Golden Gun (1974) - Rolex Submariner seen very well when Roger Moore smokes his cigar. A Rolex Cellini King Midas.
The Spy Who Love Me (1977) - Seiko Quartz LC Chronograph which can print out messages.
Moonraker (1979) - Seiko LCD Digital
which contains a small amount of explosive and detonator cable. It's accessed
by removing the back plate of the watch.
For Your Eyes Only (1981) - Seiko Quartz Analog/Digital Alarm Chronograph and doubles as a radio/receiver.
Octopussy (1983) - Seiko Sports 100 LCD & Seiko TV watch with LCD screen.
A View To A Kill (1985) - Seiko.
Living Daylights (1987) - Watch unknown.
Licence To Kill (1989) - Rolex Submariner(?).
Golden Eye (1996) - Omega Seamaster Professional Quartz with a laser worn by Pierce Brosnan. Agent 006 wears last year's model.
Tomorrow Never Dies (1997) - Omega Seamaster Professional and acts as a detonator.
World Is Not Enough, The (1999) - Omega Seamaster Professional Chronometer which turns into a grappling hook.
Die Another Day (2002) - Guess which watch? Product placement is getting to the ridiculous.
These are all the EON Productions of the James Bond movies. There are two other James Bond films worth mentioning.
Casino Royale (1967) - Many of the cast wear various Rolexes. There is an extreme close-up of a Submariner held by Ursula Andress, which doubles as a two-way T.V. monitor and radio. When Peter Sellers visits Q Branch, his watch is described by Q's assistant (Fordice) as, "1965 Rolex Oyster Perpetual, date indicator and log table around the outer band". This watch is replaced with the same model but with the two-way monitor and radio features. A close-up of this watch reveals it's a Rolex GMT.
Never Say Never Again (1983) - An unknown watch given to Sean Connery by Q Branch which contains a laser beam.
On 17 September 1998, Christie's conducted an
auction of James Bond memorabilia. Lot No. 130 was the actual Rolex
Submariner used in "Live And Let Die". Rolex Reference
case No. 2912634. Its movement had been removed for customisation and the
indices on the black dial had been pierced. Estimated price was between
£4000 and £6000. It eventually sold for £21,850.
All film images are copyright of Danjaq, Inc. & United Artists Corporation